The Film Federation of India (FFI), which represents production, distribution and exhibition sectors and the representatives of the various film industry bodies, has decided to defer the pan India bandh of January 6.
The bandh was planned to protest against music composers' and lyricists' claims for royalty, and what the producers called the government's anti industry attitude.
The decision was announced at a producers' press conference -- attended by the likes of Mukesh Bhatt, Ramesh Sippy, Ashok Pandit, FFI president T P Agarwal and FFI vice president Dinesh Chaturvedi.
"The industry has been facing various issues, like copyright issue, heavy taxation among other things, which has brought the industry to a paralytic stage," said Bhatt. "However, yesterday we had a very important meeting with senior leaders of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance government, including Congress General Secretary Ahmed Patel, Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni and Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal. We got a very positive response. In fact, they greeted us with a very positive statement: 'This government is committed to the principles of justice and not personalities'."
The senior leaders have assured the film Industry members that the government is concerned with the growing resentment in the industry across regions and languages. They appreciated the seriousness of the copyright amendment act, if implemented in the current form and the various other concerns shared by the industry and assured that justice would be done and no arbitrary decisions, which could jeopardise the industry, would be taken by the government.
"We have also been instructed to engage with the authors and composers and look for a reasonable outcome, which is practical, without jeopardising our business," added Bhatt. "The government has assured us that both the sides will be heard fairly and only then will the law be implemented. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the bandh... We are not here to fight, but our sustenance is threatened and, therefore, we want to have a positive word with the composers and find a fair solution"
"We were informed of the law, which would take away our rights. I'm sure if Javed Akhtar, lyricist who has been fighting for royalties] saab was fighting for something, it must be for something unjust, but the government escalated the matter without consulting with us, and therefore our voice remained unheard," said Sippy. "Therefore, before yesterday's meeting we had a sentiment of there being no other way out. However, now we feel the government is open to taking in account our point of view, and we are very happy that they are seeking justice for both sides, not just passing a one-sided law. We are hopeful of sitting down resolving this issue."
Asked whether they were open to discussions with Akhtar, Agarwal said, "We have never banned Javed saab; we had simply advised producers to not sign him till this matter is not resolved. But he is one of us, and has always been, so we will of course discuss the situation with him."
The film Industry and the UPA leaders have agreed to find a solution to the issues between producers and composers at the earliest and have dialogues on an on-going basis.